Antiques Trade Talks – Mary Hossack

Antique dealer Mary HossackWith over 20 years’ experience in the antiques trade, Mary Hossack brings her talented eye to sourcing and curating a collection of decorative antiques, some of which she is bringing to next month’s Bruton Decorative Antiques Fair

How did you start in the business?

I bought my first piece when I was 9 years-old, a country chair that I still have. My dad and I trawled village hall auctions of the Cotswolds and house sales every weekend.

I fell in love with the characters in the trade, and the social history, it started then!

I opted for antiques as a profession after a Fine Art degree working for a London auction house.

A pair of antique chairs from Mary HossackWe started our upholstery business Hossack and Gray in the East End in 2000 and started a family.

We relocated to the West Country and then I worked as a general valuer for Bonhams in Bath, then dealing through my shop in Somerton.

How important is having an ‘eye’?

Having ‘the eye’ is everything. I think you are born with it, but you need to constantly refine what you buy and nurture it.

You can learn what is tasteful, but often this means that your ‘look’ lacks soul.

Antiques from Mary HossackDo you adapt to interior styles – or plough your own furrow?

I like to follow trends, but style outweighs. I think we have always ploughed our own furrow, even if people think we are potty!

We hear a lot about the end of minimalism – is that reflected in the trade?

I am a maximalist. I think people are wanting less stuff, with more style and visual interest.

Do you change what you take to a fair depending on location?

I try not to second guess the market and don’t presume that people ‘won’t get it’. We always take the most interesting of what we have to every fair.

Are you seeing the next generation of antique buyers emerge? 

Yes, and I love it! It’s really exciting to have young people designing their dream spaces and investing in antiques. I’m always happy to help young interior designers and buyers find what they are looking for.

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